Sustainable packaging is increasingly being demanded by customers. Making sense of the sustainability claims can be challenging to say the least – compostable, biodegradable, eco-certified, plastic-free etc etc.
With Coniston Stonecraft it’s simple. Every order is shipped with a postcard containing the following explanation of their packaging:
“For packaging we use recycled cardboard from a friendly local bike shop that would otherwise be destined for landfill. We use recycled bubble wrap and fabric cuttings from a Lancashire textile mill that would also otherwise be heading for a refuse tip.
So don’t be disappointed that your Coniston Stonecraft didn’t arrive in an elaborate, decorated box. Be proud that it’s been lovingly made, by a company working hard to preserve the natural beauty of the Lake District”
Their approach involves more effort in terms of sourcing the materials and packaging their items. There’s also a risk of some customers not appreciating the efforts they have gone to or the reasoning behind it. But Coniston Stonecraft are unapologetic and rightly so. It’s the right thing to do, both for the environment and their business.
Sustainable packaging is not easy. For food and drink businesses particularly, achieving a sustainable approach whilst still meeting regulatory requirements and keeping costs manageable is really tough.
We encourage all of our certified businesses to go as far as they can and to be bold about it, making it a core feature of their customer offer. When customers are weighing up what’s important to them, sustainability is weighing heavier all the time and your packaging is one of the clearest indications of how important it is to your business.
These are interesting times for business sustainability. The world is changing and businesses that are not transparently seeking sustainable practice will increasingly be left behind. However, it still takes real courage to fully commit to sustainable practice.
Bath House are artisans of fragrance, bodycare, handcare and skincare. They operate in a sector full of polluting chemicals, single-use plastics and energy-intensive production. Sustainability in this context is both challenging and costly, and therefore inherently risky. It’s a risk that Bath House are taking, recognising not only their responsibilities to the planet but also the rapidly changing nature of consumer demands.
Re-fillable aluminium (pictured) and glass containers are being introduced across the board, a recycling service for the refill pouches is being provided, ingredients are 98% natural (and increasing), all production is in England close to their six shops… the list goes on.
They’re very worthy of their Green Small Business certified status and thanks to a lovely Christmas gift, I can also highly recommend their Bergamot & Amber fragrance! 🙂
Sustainable cosmetics is just one aspect of our work. Check out our case studies to see the host of other business types going green.
Ventorq are as clear an example as you will find of the way in which the world of business is changing. In two ways:
Firstly, in terms of what they do. As an Ecommerce consultancy, they help their clients, from brewers to fashion houses, to thrive in the world of online business. They provide support and direction with establishing or improving an ecommerce presence, and how many businesses can thrive without that now?
Secondly, in terms of how they do it. Ventorq see environmental sustainability as a business imperative. They are committed to reducing their environmental impact and continually improving environmental performance as an integral part of their business strategy and operating methods. The Green Small Business process provided them with a structured approach to achieving these goals and a means of clearly differentiating their offer. Ventorq founder Richard Hatfield recognised the benefits:
“Primarily, the Green Small Business process provides a clear plan of action to improve the sustainability of the business. Having a live action plan means that you can continue to consider and improve on your efforts. The discussion with Tim raised issues I’d not thought of before and introduced resources that would have taken me time to find. Hopefully the certification will encourage other businesses and clients to consider their environmental impacts further and position Ventorq as a trustworthy and responsible business that doesn’t place profit above ethics.”
Rothay Manor is an idyllic and luxurious hotel providing high class, relaxed country manor stays, nestled in the beautiful hills of the English Lake District. Co-owners Jamie and Jenna are keen to build an environmentally aware and active company while still providing a luxury offer.
The hotel is aiming to be as green as possible, including by wrestling with the challenges of heating, lighting and powering a large, historic building. Green Small Business has allowed them to see the potential for greener options across their business, including simple, quick-wins as well as longer term actions.
Rothay Manor now has a clear vision for environmental sustainability. Jenna welcomed having “clear and concise actions so we know exactly how to make the right changes”
Land and Sky media, a family-run, innovative and extremely successful production company are committed to low impact practice and align themselves with companies and organisations who strive for a more sustainable future for people and the environment. Green Small Business certification provides some independent verification that their ethos is being translated into action.
Dom Bush and Helen Lawrie set up the business in 2011 and now have an awards list that makes for a lengthy web page! With the help of Green Small Business, an audit of all of their activities allowed them to identify short, medium and long-term actions to improve sustainability across all aspects of the business. Business Development Manager and Producer Helen was delighted with the process and the outcome:
‘To have an environmental policy drawn up for us and a clear EMS developed has saved us a lot of time and given us really achievable targets to work towards. Having a Green Small Business accreditation in place gives us increased credibility and allows us to show to clients and collaborators that we can deliver on our values.’
An increasing number of construction companies are getting Green Small Business certification, the latest of which is Rubix Construction – a residential construction company with a growing reputation for achieving stunning home transformations across South London.
As a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme they are required, among other things, to:
- identify, manage and promote environmental issues
- seek sustainable solutions, minimise waste, the carbon footprint and resources
Green Small Business certification proved to be the ideal route to demonstrate their commitment to achieving these goals, providing them with a systematic and practical framework for managing their environmental impacts.
“Green Small Business has given us a clear and achievable plan on how to be more ‘green’. It is making us think more carefully about how we do things, and has given us a framework on how to make improvements. This will not only benefit the environment but also hopefully make the business more efficient and cost effective.”
‘MarTech Consultancy’ was a new one on us but we soon realised it’s one of those things that most of businesses need these days – help with the technology that powers our marketing efforts. Fly are more than just another web development agency with marketing technology expertise though. They offer strategic, business thinking, backed with MBA-level marketing expertise.
This burgeoning and dynamic business have longer-term aspirations for B-Corp status and see Green Small Business certification as a first step in systematically addressing their environmental impacts. Founder and lead consultant, Tim De La Salle, is clear about the benefits:
“I see this as a great first step for us, in baking sensible and meaningful environmental policy into the business. It also allows us to demonstrate to our clients, particularly our not-for-profit audience, that we do mean what we say. In turn, this is a win, win, win; good for us, good for the planet and good for the bottom line”
Inspired by accommodation overseas, St Marks Stays provides a place where groups (and their pets) can have a place to stay and hang out together in beautiful Cumbria, whilst having things organised for them by live-in hosts Joanne and Damian Withers.
Joanne and Damian are committed to making their business as green as possible, particularly by wrestling with the challenges of lighting and heating a large 19th century ex-vicarage and school. Green Small Business has enabled them to think through all of their significant environmental impacts, both negative and positive, and provided them with a structured approach to managing these impacts in the short and longer term. Joanne envisages big benefits for their business:
“The Green Small Business approach gives us a structure to work with and aim for, rather than feeling the task of being green feeling too big to achieve and beyond our finances. Our customers will appreciate the changes we are making by being able to show the certification and it will attract like minded collaborators into our business. It was a very straight forward process and we are so glad we invested in this.”
Green Small Business was established to enable all businesses to think about their environmental impacts, take steps to address them and maximise the business benefits from doing so.
Lots of businesses have now benefited from getting Green Small Business certified but plenty more have thought about doing so and not taken it any further. We don’t take it personally…
From talking to some of those who have downloaded our free guide or made enquiries, one of the barriers to taking the plunge is a fear that they are not ‘green’ enough and that going green could be too challenging.
We do want the process to be challenging. Being Green Small Business certified means something.
BUT we recognise that every business has to start where they are and to move forward at a pace they are comfortable with.
That’s why becoming a Green Small Business involves meeting only two criteria:
- You have an environmental policy and action plan that incorporates all of your significant environmental impacts.
- That the actions in your action plan demonstrate a commitment to addressing those impacts in some way.
The scale and the pace of change in becoming greener is up to you. All we look for is an honest and genuine commitment to continuous improvement.
You might well be an eco-warrior with a radical approach to doing business.
You might equally be a newcomer to thinking about the environmental impacts of your business and with unknown scope for change.
Either way, Green Small Business is ideal for your small business. Download our free guide or check out the rest of our website for more details.
Shed 1 Gin is an award-winning distillery on the edge of the English Lake District. They produce ‘small batch, classically distilled gin with a contemporary style’. We normally provide all of our services remotely, but we took the time to go visit this ‘green distillery’ and we may have sampled some of their fare…
The pride in their gin-making was evident. Equally evident was their honest and committed approach to managing their environmental impacts. They work hard to ensure the most sustainable packaging, source all ingredients as locally as possible (including foraging for blackberries!), are re-jigging their distillery so that all cooling water is recycled in a closed loop system, have joined the Recorked UK scheme to encourage recycling of their corks and are working towards a bottle re-filling system for local customers. They really are a green distillery. For more, see their sustainability page.
Every Green Small Business is different. Some are just starting on their journey towards becoming more green. For others, like Shed 1 Gin, Green Small Business certification is as much about recognising and celebrating their efforts as it is about identifying new ways of improving environmental performance. See their case study for more details.
Gin-maker extraordinaire Zoe was delighted with the outcome of the process: It has always been important for us to be as sustainable as we could be. It was great to get some affirmation for our efforts up to this point. What we found useful was the extra research that Green Small Business did for us and pointing us in the right direction.